Thursday, June 01, 2006 - Ballooning History - Ballooning History: "To the amazement of a group of spectators, the Montgolfier brothers soon managed to send a sort of giant paper bag some thirty meters (100 ft) up in the air, using gas obtained by burning a mixture of wet straw and chopped wool. Joseph and Etienne decided to push things further, via a 'machine' for taking people into the air - an 'aerostat' they called it. 'Seraphina', to use their private name for this strange contrivance, was to be a 12-meter (40 ft) envelope made of wrapping fabric lined with paper, with its multiple sections held together by some 2000 buttons. A totally hare-brained idea, according to their critics. After the preliminary tryouts, the first public experiment was scheduled for Annonay on 4 June 1783, just happening to coincide with a meeting of the area's most influential people. "


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